Cyclamen colchicum

Description

Flowers appear late summer to late autumn, in the wild from July to October, in shades of rose pink, very fragrant with a sweet scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 10-22mm long, 5-10mm wide, with pointed tips, generally 0-90 degrees twist, barely noticeable auricles and a darker area at the nose of the flower.

Leaves appear late summer, often with the old leaves still present, broadly oval, fleshy, with thickened beaded margins, curling under, dark green or barely patterned in shades of green, underside purplish, 2.5-7cm long, 2.5-8cm wide.

Tuber

Tuber spherical, becoming irregular with age, up to 6.5cm diameter at maturity, smooth, pale brown, thick (2mm) diameter roots, arising mostly from the sides.

Distribution

Cyclamen colchicum is endemic to the mountains and valleys of Samegrelo and southwest Svaneti in the Republic of Georgia, and the eastern part of the breakaway state of Abkhazia.

Habitat

Cyclamen colchicum generally grows in humus rich pockets of soil in limestone rocks on the sides of wooded river gorges but is also found in similar pockets in the degraded sub-alpine area of the river catchment.

Cultivation

Cyclamen colchicum is a hardy plant and should be suitable for the garden in northwest Europe but not much grown outside as yet because of its current scarcity in the nursery trade. It is most often cultivated as a pot plant in a cold greenhouse. Little selection has been carried out so far. Cyclamen colchicum is very similar to the more familiar and closely related C. purpurascens (and may prove similarly difficult to establish outside) but should be able to be told apart by the much thicker leaves with curled under, strongly toothed or beaded edges.